A North Korean soldier is in critical condition after fleeing to the South on Monday, despite being shot and wounded by the North Korean military. Grace Lee reports.
There's an unlikely patient at this hospital in South Korea. A soldier from the other side of the world's most heavily militarized border. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SURGEON IN CHARGE OF DEFECTED NORTH KOREAN SOLDIER'S SURGERY AT AJOU UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, LEE KUG-JONG, SAYING: "There are more than seven multiple ruptures of the internal organs and several of them are penetrating wounds." Doctors have pulled five bullets from the North Korean, who was shot at by his own countrymen on Monday as he attempted to cross the border and flee to the South. US and South Korean soldiers managed to rescue him, but he's in critical condition, with an estimated two bullets still inside his body. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) CHIEF OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS IN JOINT CHIEF OF STAFF (JCS), ROH JAE-CHEON, SAYING: "His car had tumbled into a drain on the North's side - he hadn't crossed the border at that point. He was alone in his car and North Korean guards were shooting at him - so he started running on foot." South Korean officials say there was a hail of bullets from the North as the soldier ran through the demilitarized zone, he was found unarmed and rushed to surgery while still in his uniform which indicated he held a lower rank. More than a thousand North Koreans defect to the South every year but most make the journey through China, and attempting to cross the DMZ is rare. Seoul says it's the first time North Korean soldiers have fired towards the South's side of the Joint Security Area - where soldiers from the two sides stand practically face to face, prompting complaints from lawmakers that South Korea should have shot back. Officials say Seoul has informed Pyongyang of the wounded soldier's condition. A UN investigation is underway.